WHY IS IT SO HARD TO READ RIGHT NOW AND WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO READ RIGHT NOW AND WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

Since the stay at home orders began, many of my friends and therapy clients are expressing frustration because they notice difficulty reading literature. Their frustration is fueled by the irony that the quarantine is – in theory — the perfect time to catch up on a pile of bedside books. Unfortunately, concentration is wandering easily during this global pandemic. And so it is much harder for many ardent book lovers to read.

Recently I suggested The Dutch HouseThe Dutch House by Ann Patchett because it is a gripping, well-written read with compelling characters and a plot that masterfully lures in the reader. One of the two main characters has type-one diabetes and this diagnosis adds meaningful texture to the story. The protagonist’s vulnerability seems more intense in the context of the current pandemic.

Another suggestion is The Great BelieversThe Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. This plot explores a group of mostly gay men in 1985 in Chicago, grappling with the devastating consequences of the AIDS virus. Reading about one pandemic during another may help grab a reader’s attention. The book explores the lasting legacy of the AIDS crisis on a macro level and as an inter-generational pattern and it offers some surprising lessons and relevant perspective.

If you are struggling with reading any new book, no matter how gripping its plot, consider re-reading a beloved book from your past. Check out this recent Washington Post articleWashington Post article suggesting that perhaps it is an ideal time to table intentions for reading new books and instead enjoy re-reading some of your old favorites.

Elisabeth LaMotte

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